Socialist Candidate Defends Main Rival's Presidential Bid from Bulgarian Nationalists

Politics » PRESIDENTAL & LOCAL ELECTIONS 2011 | August 19, 2011, Friday // 17:44| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Socialist Candidate Defends Main Rival's Presidential Bid from Bulgarian Nationalists MEP and socialist presidential runner Ivaylo Kalfin has condemned the attempt of nationalist leader Volen Siderov to prevent Meglena Kuneva from participating in the elections. Photo by BGNES

Socialist Presidential Candidate and MEP Ivaylo Kalfin has accused nationalist leader Volen Siderov of marching to the orders of center-right ruling party GERB.

"For yet another time, Ataka leader Volen Siderov is doing GERB's dirty job. Someone in GERB must be afraid of Kuneva", Kalfin said Friday, commenting on Siderov's proposal for initiating a parliamentary petition against allowing the former EU Commissioner and chief negotiator for Bulgaria's EU accession during the cabinet of Simeon Saxe-Coburg (2001-5),to the presidential elections.

Ataka's leader, a presidential runner himself, has argued that "The Bulgarian Constitution requires that candidates for president are eligible only if they have lived in the country in the last five years. Kuneva does not meet that requirement since she has served as political advisor of European Commission Vice President Siim Kalas since April 2010".

However, former Constitutional Judge Dimitar Gochev announced Friday that the case could not be referred to the Constitutional Court (CC) as it had already issued a ruling on the matter in 2001.

Citing an interpretative ruling of CC from 08 February 2001, Gochev reminded that "Bulgarian citizens who were sent or nominated by the Bulgarian State to conduct activities abroad do not interrupt their residency in the country and keep their right to run for president."

"I believe that everybody who has something to say must have the right and the opportunity to participate in the elections. I hope that Siderov will not be able to summon 48 signatures from MPs". Kalfin stated Friday.

He also stressed two other worrying facts about the upcoming vote.

The MEP pointed out that the three-member governing bodies of the Municipal Election Commissions in 264 municipalities included 65 panels of representatives of GERB only.

"This is alarming, there has never been such a monopoly over the Municipal Election Commissions", Kalfin cautioned.

The presidential runner of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) further said that if the idea to close Parliament just ahead of the elections was implemented, the scandal would have not only local but also international repercussions.

During his speech in the northwestern city of Vidin , Kalfin stressed that the region was the poorest within the EU.

"I have undertaken a commitment to call for special attention at the European Parliament to the most underdeveloped European regions as regards the budget framework after 2014", Kalfin explained.

He visited the construction site of the Danube Bridge 2, the biggest Bulgarian infrastructure project financed with EU money (EUR 70 M under ISPA).

Alberto Bergara, Danube Bridge 2 Project Manager from Spanish FCC Construcciones, took Kalfin to the highest pillar of the future bridge, vowing that the project would be completed by end-2012.

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Tags: Ivaylo Kalfin, MEP, presidential elecitons, Meglena Kuneva, EU Commissioner, nationalist party, Ataka, Volen Siderov, Constitutional Court
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